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How truthful are food and nutrition labels?

“All-natural,” “organic,” and “GMO-free.” The parameters that define these categories might surprise you. Before your next visit to the grocery store, test your knowledge by taking our quiz and see how much you know about FDA and USDA requirements for food and nutrition labels.

START QUIZ

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) make up what percent of each of the following crops?

CORN
80
COTTON
90
SOYBEANS
90
NEXT

EXCELLENT JOB!

You got them all right. Many consumers don’t realize how prevalent GMOs are in some of our most common crops: 94% of cotton, 93% of soybeans, and 88% of corn is genetically modified. Meanwhile, the FDA has yet to decide whether they have a net positive or negative impact on the health of consumers.

Learn more about GMOs

CORRECT ANSWERS

NEXT QUESTION

YOU WERE CLOSE.

At this point, 94% of cotton, 93% of soybeans, and 88% of corn is genetically modified. Meanwhile, the FDA has yet to decide whether GMOs have a net positive or negative impact on the health of consumers.

Learn more about GMOs
NEXT QUESTION

NOT QUITE RIGHT.

At this point, 94% of cotton, 93% of soybeans, and 88% of corn is genetically modified. Meanwhile, the FDA has yet to decide whether GMOs have a net positive or negative impact on the health of consumers.

Learn more about GMOs

CORRECT ANSWERS

NEXT QUESTION

What percentage of a product needs to be organic for it to be labeled "organic?"

90
NEXT

EXCELLENT JOB!

You got it right. To be labeled “organic,” the USDA requires proof from an outside agency that 95% of the product is produced organically.

Learn more about
ORGANIC NUTRITION

CORRECT ANSWER

NEXT QUESTION

YOU WERE CLOSE.

If a product consists of 70–95% organic material, then it can include “made with organic ingredients” on its label, but not “organic.”

Learn more about
ORGANIC NUTRITION

CORRECT ANSWER

NEXT QUESTION

NOT QUITE RIGHT.

If a product consists of 70–95% organic material, then it can include “made with organic ingredients” on its label. To be labeled “organic,” the USDA requires proof from an outside agency that 95% of the product is produced organically.

Learn more about
ORGANIC NUTRITION

CORRECT ANSWER

NEXT QUESTION

Which of these foods can be labeled "cholesterol- free?"

Select all that apply

CHICKEN

(70 mg cholesterol)

APPLES

(0 mg of cholesterol)

MUSTARD

(< 2 mg of cholesterol)

NEXT

EXCELLENT JOB!

If a product has fewer than 2 mg of cholesterol per serving, it can be labeled "cholesterol-free." However, using this type of label on fruit and other fresh produce is potentially misleading since these foods are naturally "cholesterol-free."

Learn more about the criteria for cholesterol-free products

CORRECT ANSWERS

NEXT QUESTION

YOU WERE CLOSE.

In order to be labeled cholesterol-free, a product must contain fewer than 2 mg of cholesterol per serving. However, using this type of label on fruit and other fresh produce is potentially misleading since these foods are naturally "cholesterol-free."

Learn more about the criteria for cholesterol-free products
NEXT QUESTION

NOT QUITE RIGHT.

If a product has more than 2 mg of cholesterol per serving, it cannot be labeled "cholesterol-free."

Learn more about the criteria for cholesterol-free products

CORRECT ANSWERS

NEXT QUESTION

If a package reads
"made with real fruit," it can:

Select all that apply

be made with negligible amounts of fruit.

be made with fruit concentrate.

be referring to a fruit other than the one pictured on the package.

NEXT

Excellent Job!

“Made with real” labels are almost entirely unregulated. In the case of fruit, this type of label almost always refers to concentrate, and it can be any kind of fruit, despite what is pictured on the packaging.

Learn more about “made with real” labels

be made with negligible amounts of fruit.

be made with fruit concentrate.

be referring to a fruit other than the one pictured on the package.

CORRECT ANSWERS

NEXT QUESTION

you were close.

“Made with real” labels are almost entirely unregulated. In the case of fruit, this type of label almost always refers to concentrate, and it can be any kind of fruit, despite what is pictured on the packaging.

Learn more about “made with real” labels

be made with negligible amounts of fruit.

be made with fruit concentrate.

be referring to a fruit other than the one pictured on the package.

CORRECT ANSWERS

NEXT QUESTION

Not Quite Right.

“Made with real” labels are almost entirely unregulated. In the case of fruit, this type of label almost always refers to concentrate, and it can be any kind of fruit, despite what is pictured on the packaging.

Learn more about “made with real” labels

be made with negligible amounts of fruit.

be made with fruit concentrate.

be referring to a fruit other than the one pictured on the package.

CORRECT ANSWERS

NEXT QUESTION

To be labeled "free range,"
poultry must:

Select all that apply

be given access to the outdoors for more than 51% of their lives.

be certified by an outside agency.

be from a climate where year-round outdoor access is feasible.

NEXT

EXCELLENT job!

Free-range poultry is supposed to have access to the outdoors for more than 51% of their lives, but the only proof required is a written statement from the producer, not an outside agency. Colder climates can still produce-free range product, but not if the poultry are kept in coops all winter.

Learn more about what
constitutes “free-range”

be given access to the outdoors for more than 51% of their lives.

be certified by an outside agency.

be from a climate where year-round outdoor access is feasible.

CORRECT ANSWERS

NEXT QUESTION

you were CLOSE.

Free-range poultry is supposed to have access to the outdoors for more than 51% of their lives, but the only proof required is a written statement from the producer, not an outside agency. Colder climates can still produce-free range product, but not if the poultry are kept in coops all winter.

Learn more about what
constitutes “free-range”

be given access to the outdoors for more than 51% of their lives.

be certified by an outside agency.

be from a climate where year-round outdoor access is feasible.

CORRECT ANSWERS

NEXT QUESTION

NOT QUITE RIGHT.

Free-range poultry is supposed to have access to the outdoors for more than 51% of their lives, but the only proof required is a written statement from the producer, not an outside agency. Colder climates can still produce-free range product, but not if the poultry are kept in coops all winter.

Learn more about what
constitutes “free-range”

be given access to the outdoors for more than 51% of their lives.

be certified by an outside agency.

be from a climate where year-round outdoor access is feasible.

CORRECT ANSWERS

NEXT QUESTION

Which of these labeling terms is recognized in FDA guidance?

Select all that apply

WHOLE GRAIN

MULTIGRAIN

NEXT

EXCELLENT job!

The FDA recommends that "whole grain" be used to refer exclusively to cereal grains whose “principal anatomical components are present in the same relative proportions as they exist” in nature. In contrast, the FDA has not offered any guidance on the use of "multigrain" in food labeling.

Learn more about
labeling for whole grains

CORRECT ANSWERS

NEXT QUESTION

NOT QUITE RIGHT.

The FDA recommends that "whole grain" be used to refer exclusively to cereal grains whose “principal anatomical components are present in the same relative proportions as they exist” in nature. In contrast, the FDA has not offered any guidance on the use of "multigrain" in food labeling.

Learn more about
labeling for whole grains

CORRECT ANSWERS

NEXT QUESTION

The FDA requires that food labeled "all-natural" must not include:

Select all that apply

GMOs

Artificial Flavors

Added Colors

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Synthetic Substances

NEXT

EXCELLENT job!

The FDA does not have any official definition of “natural,” but many companies use the label on their foods. The FDA has not objected to the use of “natural” as long as the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.

Learn more about what “natural” really means

GMOs

Artificial Flavors

Added Colors

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Synthetic Substances

CORRECT ANSWERS

NEXT QUESTION

NOT QUITE RIGHT.

The FDA does not have any official definition of “natural,” but many companies use the label on their foods. The FDA has not objected to the use of “natural” as long as the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.

Learn more about what “natural” really means

GMOs

Artificial Flavors

Added Colors

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Synthetic Substances

CORRECT ANSWERS

NEXT QUESTION

What is the maximum distance food can travel in order to be considered "local?"

Slide the truck to select your answer.

100 miles

150 miles

200 miles

250 miles

300 miles

miles

50

100

150

200

250

NEXT

Gotcha.

This was a bit of a trick question. There’s very little guidance for what constitutes “local,” so the definition varies based on whom you ask. Many “locavores,” or people who consume mostly locally produced food, restrict their diet to goods produced within 100 or 250 miles of their home. Some farm grants intended to promote local produce set the bar at 400 miles from the origin of the food, but many store chains and brands set their own standards.

Learn more about local & regional food systems
COMPLETE QUIZ

YOU’RE FINISHED!

Thanks for taking our quiz. Click on the articles below to learn more about nutrition and food label rules and regulations.

Note: This quiz is for informational purposes only and is not a medical opinion. Individuals should consult their health care professionals before following any of the information provided.